Wednesday, 17 October 2018

7 Week College Update | Access to Higher Education

You may or may not be aware that I actually went back to college at the beginning of September to study an Access to Higher Education Course in Science for Health Practitioners. Education has been quite a tough aspect of life for me since about Year 8 and it has been something that I have struggled to attend, keep up with and stay motivated to do my work. I went into this course extremely anxious but I also knew that it was really my last shot at getting my education after dropping out of Sixth Form nearly two years ago.

Two years ago, I was writing my Personal Statement for a Fashion degree, Textiles has been something that I have adored since I first started it in Year 7 and I absolutely loved it at GCSE, I was so positive that I was going to go into fashion and be successful within it because I loved it so much but I always felt that something was missing and that I had more potential and that I needed to do more with my life and give something back after all of the help from the NHS that I have received over the years.

I found out about Access courses last year when a work friend started one and looked into it straight away, I was so thrilled to see that there was a course suitable for individuals who want to go into nursing but I was a bit annoyed with how little course options there were, as there is only one college in my area that offers Access courses, and there are only five course options. Before finding this course, I really wanted to study Media Make-Up but I am too old to do the course near me and I thought that if I get my degree over and done with, I could possibly do a make-up course later on, when I am earning more money and can afford to do so.

It is now half term for me, which I am so pleased about as this last week has been tough, I go to college on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and have fifteen hours worth of lesson time per week, which I am expected to match at home. I went into Access knowing that it was going to be tough and a crazy work load, but I feel like it has been easier than Sixth Form just because I am now confident in what I want to study at University. Saying that, I have mentioned this before but the course is completely Science based and Science was one of the subjects that I hated the most at school. I have found the Science quite challenging at times, but now that I have settled into college, I feel a lot more confident than I did before and I actually love Chemistry. However, Biology is what I need more than anything to become a nurse and Biology is what I will be constantly studying through the year and I do find is ridiculously difficult as there are so many key terms that we have to memories.

Another positive thing is that I finally understand the structure of my course in regards to Credits and how things are marked. Most of my course will be exams but there are some written assignments too, which is much more up my street. I have had my mocks; I had Chemistry last week which I surprisingly got a Distinction in which I was obviously over the moon about and then I had a Biology exam this week which I stressed and stressed over but also ended up with a Distinction which I couldn't quite believe as I thought I'd be lucky to get a Merit. I just need to make sure that I revise over the next two weeks to ensure that I get good grades in my real exams at the end of the month. I also have my first assignment due in in a couple of weeks, which I am a little nervous for, as I don't really know what things I am meant to write and include but I am sure I will get there.

My attendance for the first half term is somehow 96% which is a miracle and shock to everyone around me considering how low my attendance was whilst at Sixth Form and my only absence was because I unfortunately had to attend a funeral, which can't be helped. I have gotten through seven weeks without any professional support, within college or outside of college for my Mental Health and I can't quite believe it, I feel like a 'normal' student for the first time since I was in Year 8 and it is absolutely mad to know that I have managed to do so well.

One thing that I am struggling well is splitting my time effectively as I go to college Monday to Wednesday and then work Thursday to Sunday and a lot of the free time I do have is spent seeing my family and friends. I think that I currently have five pieces of marked work that I am currently working on, two of which are exams, plus my Personal Statement which I am still working on my first draft. I'm not going to deny that it is a lot of work because it really is, and it is tough but it is so achievable and I am so proud of how I am doing so far. By the beginning of November, I will have three units completed and twelve out of sixty credits done and I can't believe how quick it is going as well as how quick paced the learning is, it feels like it is all so crammed in and I often find that I have to look things up once I am home, but hopefully, it'll all be worth it in the end. 

I think that I have covered everything for the first half term, other than the fact that if you are going to do an access course then just be aware, that you're going to need a hell of a lot of paper, I have already gone through around 300 pages but that is all for now.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Friday, 28 September 2018

U P D A T E | September 2018

It actually pains me to say that it has been six entire weeks since I last posted on my blog.. where has that time gone? I thought that today I would do a little bit of a life update as quite a few things have changed.

Firstly, I have officially completed my first four weeks at college and somehow, my attendance is 100% which is something that I haven't maintained since I was 15. I would be lying if I said that it hasn't been a massive challenge but I am so determined because I feel that this is my final chance of getting an education. However, saying that, I am aware that there are a few different upcoming dates where I won't be able to attend college such as when I go to Disneyland and because I have a tattoo next week, both of which were booked before I knew my timetable but I am just hoping that I will be able to keep my attendance above 90% as this would be a massive achievement for me. The course itself is hard, its stressful and the workload is crazy. I was told in my Interview that the course is essentially three A-Levels in 9 months but I still wasn't really prepared for how much work there is. I am studying the Science for Health Practitioners course which means that it is mostly Science based and mostly at AS Level, I have never really been a fan of Science and I do find that I have to spend a lot of time doing research to make sure I understand everything but to my own surprise, I am actually enjoying it. I have my first set of exams at the end of October, so I am sure that by the time they come around, I won't be enjoying it as much.

Leading on from college, I am about to start my UCAS application and personal statement which I am dreading because my course is stressful enough as it is. I can't believe that after years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life and flipping between different career paths that fingers crossed, this time next year I will be a Mental Health Nurse Student. I have decided that if I do manage to get in, then I will definitely be staying at home and studying locally; going away to University was something that hasn't really ever appealed to me and did even put me off going to University for a while as I just didn't think I would get into my local University. I am definitely a homely person and I know that I am going to be having to save as many pennies as I can. I am also not really a drinker, so if I was to go away, I could see myself being the only person staying in my flat whilst everyone else is out at freshers. 

I also attended the Health Bloggers Community Awards in London a couple of weeks ago which was such a good evening. I didn't win the award for my category and it went to the well deserved Sarah from The Growing Butterfly. I am still thrilled to even be shortlisted for my first ever blog award and I spent the following day being a typical tourist in London, visiting museums and dragging my mum on multiple tubes.

I am not sure about how many of you are aware that I joined a gym a few months ago which was going really well until I got busy and often don't have much free time, but I really need to find the motivation to get back in the gym for a few different reasons.. firstly, the weight gain is definitely real, I have been gaining weight since I quit smoking in November last year, but recently it has started getting worse and none of my clothes fit as well as the fact that I feel big in most of my clothes that do fit, which is frustrating, and secondly, because I know that deep down going to the gym and working out does make me feel better about myself, and improves my mindset. Hopefully now that I have written it on here, for everyone to see, I will actually get my arse in gear and do it.

Another exciting thing that hasn't quite happened yet but is happening next week, is the fact that I am getting a new tattoo. It has been booked for a few months now and it is by Poppy Small Hands which I am so excited about as I have spent years looking at her work, especially her scar cover ups and I just can't wait to have a new piece. Like my previous tattoo, this one is actually on what I call my 'nice piece of arm' where I don't have scars but hopefully soon I will be able to start on some scar cover ups.

Talking about scars, I have spent the majority of this year despising my scars and for the first time, I genuinely believe that I am over Self Harm. I regret self harming more than anything because my arms are so disgusting and I always feel far too self concious to leave the house in short sleeves. However, I have been using the My Trusty Sunflower Face & Body Oil which I got off Amazon for under £10 and has been created by the NHS. Let me just tell you, it has done absolute wonders for my scars, it has faded almost all of them, including the ones that hadn't faded in a couple of years. I am so pleased with the results so far and I am going to be doing a review, I just want to keep using it for a few more months. All in all, I would highly recommend if you're struggling with scars or wanting to fade them.

Medication is another thing that has been really up and down. I have been trying to come off one of my medications; Sertraline for six months yet and I just cannot get off of it. I was advised to reduce it by 50mg every one to two weeks but instead, am having to cut it down by 25mg around every four to six weeks which is so frustrating. I was really surprised that I am finding this medication so difficult to come off as it is so widely used and I hadn't really heard of anyone talk about the withdrawal symptoms. However, after six months of headaches, sickness and feeling like I have both the flu and a really bad hangover, I am just about down to 50mg which means that I am making progress, even if it is taking a little while longer than expected.

Another thing that has been a bit up and down is the fact that I was discharged from Mental Health Services a few months ago. I have been so worried about getting re-referred but I haven't had any incidences and therefore haven't had to see any health professionals which I am really pleased about. I feel that although I was so hopeless when I first was discharged, it isn't much different because I rarely had appointments anyway. One of the only downsides, is that because I don't have any professionals to talk to, I do sometimes keep quiet because I don't really want to burden everyone else who may be struggling themselves which I know is really unhealthy. However, I also haven't had to ask for support at College and have only had a couple of wobbles which I feel is such a huge milestone for me. I think that if I do end up needing support, I will be able to access it but at the moment, I am just trying to settle in, find the right balance between work and college and hand in all of my work on time.

Lastly, the other thing that I wanted to talk about was the fact that Disneyland is slowly approaching and there is now only 35 days away! I am so excited and I think it'll be such a needed break from college. I have also never been to Disneyland Paris so I am excited to spend a few magical days in the parks and all of the Christmas decorations and merchandise will be about.

I could honestly go on all day about all of the things that have happened recently, but I will leave it there and I should hopefully be back to uploading a bit more regularly.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Should people with Mental Health Conditions be entitled to a Blue Parking Badge?

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that from next year, people with hidden disabilities such as Autism and Mental Health Conditions would have a better chance of receiving a Blue Badge, to make going out easier and allowing them to park in disabled parking. Usually, when a new opportunity arises for individuals who suffer from Mental Illness, I am all for it but this particular topic, I just can't quite get my head around and I really disagree with it, I agree that some individuals who have Mental Health conditions should be entitled to a Blue Badge but surely there has to be strict conditions and guidelines in order for it to work which i'm not sure there will be.

"The Blue Badge scheme already means those with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances." I think that the Blue Badge scheme was such a good and inspiring scheme to benefit those who aren't as mobile as other individuals and to ensure that they can still go out and do everyday tasks, improving their quality of life. I also am very aware that there are almost always limited disable spaces that fill up very quickly, especially in supermarkets. It also is important to note, that disables spaces often have more space around the car, ensuring that those who require wheelchairs have plenty of space to move about comfortably. 

On the 29th July, Transport Minister, Jesse Normal said how "the changes we have announced today will ensure that this scheme is extended equally to people with hidden disabilities so that they can enjoy the freedom that many of us take for granted" and don't get me wrong, I am all for equality, especially when it comes to Mental Health but this seems like it is taking it a bit far when these people with Mental Health Conditions may be perfectly mobile and as someone who suffers from Mental Health Issues, I would feel incredibly guilty taking up a space that somebody who uses a wheelchair may need.

According to the Gov UK website, the new criteria will extend eligibility to those who; cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism), who cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress and those who have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking). I completely understand some of these points, but I feel that there are going to be tonnes of people who take advantage of this new criteria when they don't really need it. I also understand the first point especially however, in most parking areas there is a Parent & Child parking section extremely close to the disabled spaces which also has lots of space. I also think that in order for this to work, there has to be more allocated disabled spaces available and maybe even colour coded depending on needs and safety of the individual. It has also been stated on this website, that it isn't actually impossible for individuals with mental health conditions to get a Blue Badge so surely the families that have autistic children who may be a danger to themselves or others would be able to successfully receive a Blue Badge as it is.

I also do understand that this may be a step forward for those who can't be as independent as they'd like to be due to anxiety when travelling or about travelling but I am not sure that parking a bit closer to a store or building will be that beneficial and I feel that it is just going to make it more difficult to those who already have a Blue Badge as there will be a much higher demand for the disabled spaces, especially considering that there are 600,000 autistic people living in England, plus the 1 in 4 individuals who suffer from a Mental Health Condition each year. One last thing that I do fear, is that this is just adding to the stigma surrounding Autism and Mental Health Conditions because there are going to be people who don't agree with individuals parking in disabled spaces and may even question individuals on why they are using a space, which will only add to their anxiety.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x


Friday, 10 August 2018

Tangled Before Ever After | Film Review

It is no secret that Tangled is one of my all time favourite Disney films, with Rapunzel being my favourite Princess and Pascal being my favourite sidekick. I am not sure what took me so long to get round to watching this film but I loved every second of it and I couldn't recommend it enough.

I am sure that we can all remember the short, seven minute film, Tangled Ever After being released in 2012 where we were able to watch Rapunzel and Flynn Rider's (also known as Eugene) wedding (as well as everything that went wrong) and laughed over the mischief that Pascal and Maximus got up to in regards to the wedding rings but what a lot of people aren't aware of is that in 2017, prior to the release of Tangled: The Series, Disney Channel released an hour long exclusive film called Tangled Before Ever After which enables us to learn about everything that happened after Rapunzel was rescued and reunited with her parents. 

I quickly learnt that this film was completely different to Tangled and one of the key things that changed was that in this film, Disney had taken the animations back to their original style which takes a while to adjust to, but I love just as much. There were a lot of new character within this film including Cassandra who is both a friend to Rapunzel as well as her handmaiden.

The plot of this film was so different to what we saw in the original and at the beginning of the film, Rapunzel had her short, brown hair before sneaking out of the castle with Cassandra, against her fathers rules and coming across some black rocks which made her 70 feet of hair, magically grow back but even stronger than before. This film focuses on Rapunzel trying to fit into her new life in the kingdom of Corona as a Princess but of course, she has a different idea of what sort of Princess she wants to be as an oppose to her parents and everyone around her. One thing that hasn't changed is the comedy within this film, I lost count of the amount of times I burst out laughing and Pascal, really begins to come out of his shell.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Disney film without new songs and this film features both Life After Happily Every After and Wind in My Hair and I love them both so much, especially Wind in My Hair as it is so fitting to Rapunzel and her personality. Even if you don't watch the film, give the songs a listen because they are honestly incredible.

I honestly couldn't recommend watching this film enough, especially if you're wanting to watch Tangled: The Series as it fills in the missing time between Tangled and Tangled: The Series. I am so excited to start the series although, I am not sure how it is going to top both Tangled and Tangled Before Ever After.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey | Book Review

Despite finding a slight love for Poetry throughout my English A Level, I never thought that I would be the person to not only purchase a poetry book but to complete the book, and come out the other side in floods of tears. This book talks heavily about abuse, so please read both the book and this review with caution.

This book is split into four different sections; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing and I can't remember which point brought tears to my eyes but I am almost certain that it was in the first section, the hurting. It has been a very long time since I actually sobbed to a book but this one got me right in the feels, it is so raw, so honest, so emotive and just so sad, I cried reading this book so I couldn't even imagine how many times Kaur must have shed a tear or even a sobbed throughout the production of writing this book. One thing that I do know, is that it takes courage, strength and so much bravery to write so openly and this book is so powerful, it is wonderful but please, get the tissues ready.

Before I get into the sections of this book, I wanted to quickly address how much I love how Kaur has included illustrations alongside her words, I sometimes feel that drawings can be just as meaningful as words and it has definitely shown throughout this novel, they may be simple illustrations, but when put beside these words, the whole perspective changes.

The Hurting

This section was powerful and I don't think that my brain was quite ready for it, I don't think it could have ever been prepared enough to read the words that came on the following pages, the reality of some individuals who are living with constant memories of abuse and how it felt to be abused, how much it changed everything and how it can quickly become normality. I absolute adore how in this section completely, the pages were pretty bare, with minimal words and tiny sentences but that didn't take the importance away, I think it may have even increased it, I was so overwhelmed by how incredibly talented Kaur is, it takes time and a lot of hard word to be able to express such an eye opening story using so little words, but she pulled it off perfectly, which could be the very reason that I adore this book so much. A different aspect of this book, that I particularly like about this section is that nothing is toned down, which has it pros and cons and perhaps even means that it isn't suitable for readers who have suffered abuse themselves, she doesn't sugarcoat anything, she tells the story as it is, and not how people expect to hear it.

"you have sadness
living in places
sadness shouldn't live"

The Loving

It is within this section of the novel that I really began to understand how trapped it can feel to be stuck in the cycle of abuse, especially when you love the person abusing you and you put everything you have into loving them and pleasing them. This section is quite bittersweet as we are all aware that he is no good for her, but we can't just scream at her, telling her that she needs to leave as he is no good for her because she loves him and sometimes, the good outweigh the bad, no matter how bad it may be. This part of the book definitely had a lot more words and even more description, it was full of the highs and the lows and how naive you can become when you fall head over heels in love, for the wrong person and for the wrong reasons. It put a lump in my throat, knowing that this girl couldn't see her own worth and experienced all of this trauma.

"you may not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves

The Breaking

This was the part that really broke my heart, we learn about her mothers option as well as her own but how can you really understand any of it, if you've never been there yourself? It really shows how in denial she was about the entire situation which is completely understandable yet sad at the same time however, it is in the section that she really begins to know her worth, "don't mistake salt for sugar, if he wants to be with you, he will, it's that simple." Having said that, of course that doesn't make it any easier, her heart is breaking all over again and she is questioning whether she wants to continue living this way or if she'd rather walk away, neither path is easy and both are going to break her. It is in this section where we learn how she has been both the abused and the abuser, but that doesn't stop her emotions feeling intense. Towards the end of this chapter, the sentences got longer, which only made my sobs worse, but it was so cleverly and beautifully written, that I couldn't even be mad.

"you were so distant
i forgot you were there at all"

The Healing

Thankfully, this book did have a more positive ending in comparison to the previous chapters, and is full of wise words of advice and inspiration to everyone who may be in, or have experienced an abusive relationship and I was so thankful that the novel ended this way because despite the beginning being rather negative and dwelling, the ending is so positive and leaves readers full of hope, instead of dwelling on the negative parts that maybe they could relate to and it just goes to show that although it may feel like the end of the world; it isn't and as soon as you find the courage to leave, better days are only around the corner.

"do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you"

Overall, I really hope that I did this book justice but at the end of the day, you can hear an entire tonne of reviews from people around you, but you won't get the full effect unless you read it yourself so unless you are in a negative place yourself, please give this book a read, it'll change your perspective on so many things and might even change your life. It is hands down one of the best pieces of writing that I have ever read and I am sure that I will read it time and time again. Finally, I love the fact that Kaur incorporated poetry with art as I think it gives a really lovely personal touch.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Monday, 30 July 2018

Stereotyping Self Harm

On Saturday night, I popped into Tesco on my way home from work to pick up some flowers as it was my mum's birthday the following day. Despite it being much cooler than the week prior, it was still warm and I had just finished my shift at work and therefore I was wearing short sleeves.. not that I should have to justify myself. Usually when I wear short sleeves out in public, I switch off from other people, I avoid looking at people because if I can't see them looking at my scars then I can't be upset, I did exactly this, until I got to the till aisle and started packing my bag when I noticed the employee staring at my scars whilst scanning my shopping, I looked at her to see if she'd stop if she knew that I had realised but she continued, staring at me so I looked away and continued packing my shopping as fast as I could as I was already feeling extremely self conscious. When all of my items had been scanned, I did not expect for this employee, who is at work to right out ask me "have you been bullied?" with nothing more than a shocked and curious look on her face, I quickly stated "no" because I haven't been bullied, paid for my shopping and left. I was angry, I was so incredibly angry, what gives her the right to ask such a sensitive question when she doesn't even know me? What gives her the right to presume that because I have obvious self harm scars that I was bullied? The thing that made it even more infuriating is that she clearly knew that my scars were from self harm because if not, she wouldn't have even asked if I had been bullied. Another thing that annoyed me, was that this was one of the few times that I had been to a till by myself, no other customers or employee's were around and it felt like she took advantage of this and therefore thought it was OK to ask me such a damn right rude question. I can guarantee that this wouldn't have happened if I was with somebody else and how uneducated and obnoxious can somebody be, to presume that if you have self harm scars, then you've been bullied.

Nothing bugs me more than people creating and promoting stereotypes surrounding Mental Health Issues and Self Harm, absolutely nothing. We are in 2018 and people are still stuck in the ways of stereotypes despite all of the awareness, research and news that is thrown into the world in order to try and change peoples perceptions on Mental Health. Just because you have self harm scars, does not mean that you have necessarily been bullied, I understand that there are people who self harm as a result of bullying however, less than half of the people that I have met, who have experienced self harm were bullied. How about, instead of judging people, being nosy and making individuals feel self conscious, you actually educate yourself because then maybe, you will come to the realisation that Mental Illness is a very real thing and that self harm can be a side effect and coping mechanism for dealing with emotional distress and even many other things. If you don't know the person, let alone their story, you have absolutely no right to ask them questions about their scars because they're not going to waste their time telling you and you've already proven that you're judging them.

I know that there will be people out there saying how I am over reacting which I may be, but these things need to be spoken about because if not, the stigma and stereotypes are only going to remain in place and continue to upset people. Self Harm is not always due to being bullied, Self Harm is not always due to abuse, Self Harm is not always due to distress so don't you dare have the nerve to ask such a ridiculous and offensive question, especially when you're at work and are meant to be giving good customer service. Thank-you for the lady who decided to query me on my scars for inspiring me to write this post but I am afraid that you will not stop me from going out in short sleeves, I think you may have even encouraged me to do so more.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Zoe Sugg: Girl Online | Book Review

Girl Online was never a novel that I intended on reading, I didn't like the cover of the novel; I liked the idea of fairly lights but I feel that the photos attached to the fairy lights made it look far too busy, considering that they are real photographs and I didn't really feel like the novel was my cup of tea. I did however, like how it appeared to be heavily based on Anxiety, which is something that Zoella has struggled with throughout her life. I will just add in here, that this review may contain spoilers.

I actually came across this novel in Audio book format which is something that hadn't really appealed to me before and I hadn't tried, I found the full audio book on YouTube (shh, we can't always follow the rules) and thought that if I could listen to it for free then I may as well. The audio book was over nine hours long which really puts into perspective how much time we all can spend reading a book and although I am not sure who read out the book, they had a very calming voice which I think is essential when finding an audio book for you because if you don't like the voice, then it'll probably ruin the book for you.

Upon starting this novel, it became very apparent for me that this book was targeted for much younger readers, it seemed that it should have been written for around the twelve/thirteen year old mark and it gave me some serious Angus Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging vibes, which I am pretty sure that I read when I was in year seven. This novel was full to the brim of words that make me cringe, I lost count of the amount of times that I heard the words epic and cool and everything just seemed a little bit over exaggerated. There was also a couple of parts really early on that made me wonder if I am actually going to be able to get through this novel such as a part where Penny; the main character uses the phrase BFIS which means Best Friend in School and another part where Penny is talking about a teacher and says "that's another cringe factor about him, that he calls us by our nicknames". It all just seems a little childish yet on the other hand, there were references that are a bit more up to date where Penny refers to Bridget Jones, Jeremy Kyle and even Snoop Dog. I could honestly go on for hours about all of the comments that made me cringe, but I will leave you will this one before I move on; "his grin is puppy dog cute".

One thing that really got me and I couldn't avoid talking about was when Penny used the phrases "must think I'm crazy" and "looking at me like I'm demented" because these words have been used in a negative way and can really offend some readers, you would also think that Sugg would know better considering that not only her novel is based on Anxiety, but she had experienced Anxiety herself and she is a fully grown adult. It wouldn't even have been bad if it was a case of making a negative statement and then challenging it, but it was just thrown out as if it was nothing.

Having said that, I did like that Zoe's life had been shaped into Penny who is in year eleven at school and experiencing all of the high school drama. Penny experiences Anxiety and Panic Attacks throughout the novel and lives in Brighton, she even starts her own anonymous blog talking about her experiences where she signs off as Girl Online, Going Offline. At the end of some chapters, she would add in her blog post which made the novel slightly more unique and interesting.

The story line of this novel was completely unrealistic but I can't deny that it was quite sweet. Penny's mum has a wedding dress shop and gets asked to organise a Downton Abbey themed wedding in New York City just before Christmas. This news comes to Penny just after an awful day at School where she tripped on stage and showed her underwear off to the entire audience (are you getting Angus Thongs vibes yet?) and a video of her doing so had just gone viral on Social Media, she was also at a time where her Panic Attacks weren't manageable and her parents had no idea what was going on, the only person she had told was her next door neighbor and best friend Elliot and the readers of her blog. When she gets the news that they had all been invited to spend a few days in NYC, Penny, her older brother and Elliot were all rather disappointing; Elliot was worried about what he'd do with time away from Penny, Penny couldn't even think about getting on a plane without worrying and her brother was looking forward to seeing his girlfriend. The truth comes out and everyone is so supportive of Penny and a few days later, they all, minus her brother heads off to NYC. 

Penny has never had any luck with boys, she always manages to make a fool out of herself in some way or another, whether it be by falling over or saying the wrong thing, such as telling somebody that she has fleas. However, she unexpectedly stumbles across a guy whilst in New York that doesn't judge her, doesn't laugh at her and that she feels incredibly confident and calm around; she meets Noah who she refers to on her blog as Brooklyn Boy. Noah is a charming teenager who is a few years older than her and the two of them spend a day together, despite only just meeting. They bond instantly and even talk about their deepest secrets such as Penny's panic attacks and Noah loosing both of his parents. Penny feels like she knows everything about Noah, until she arrives back home in England where she discovers that Noah actually has more secrets that Penny is completely oblivious of and the truth all comes out within the end, it always does right? But not without even more drama floating around the internet about Penny and her secret identity behind her blog is revealed.

One thing that did surprise me, was that this novel had a relatively good ending and I actually enjoyed the ending, to the point that I feel that I need to read the next novel within this sequel because I need to know what happened. I also read some reviews and the next novel is apparently, slightly more mature and the story line flows a little better. Overall, I gave this novel a 2 out of 5 because I'm not sure if I would have gotten through it without having somebody read it to me, I must admit though, I did like being able to listen to it whilst getting on with other tasks but I wouldn't say that this novel alone is really worth reading, unless you are into unrealistic, teenage relationships and dramas.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x
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